Friday, January 27, 2006

Czeslaw Milosz, Second Space

I'm going to post a few of the "stanzas" from Milosz's "Treatise on Theology." The whole poem bears reading and re-reading, as does the brief volume in which it has been published, Second Space: New Poems



Treat with understanding persons of weak faith.

Myself included. One day I believe, another I disbelieve.

Yet I feel warmth among people at prayer.
Since they belive, they help me to believe
in their existence, these incomprehensible beings.

I remember that they were made to be not much inferior to angels.

Under their ugliness, which is the stigma of their practical preoccupations, they are pure, and when they sing, a vein of ecstasy pulsates in their throats.

Most intensely before a statuue of Holy Mary,
as she appeared to the young girl in Lourdes.

Naturally, I am a skeptic. Yet I sing with them,
thus overcoming the contradiction
between my private religion and the religion of the rite.


It is that last line that makes Milosz such a wonderful catholic poet, imho.

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